Bil Browning

Bilerico Visits Focus on the Family

Filed By Bil Browning | September 02, 2008 12:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality
Tags: Colorado, Colorado Springs, Denver, DNCC, Focus on the Family, homophobic people, James Dobson, religious right

Two fags and a trannie go to Focus on the Family headquarters... It sounds like the start of a really bad joke, eh? Last Friday though, it became a true story - although we did put the Bilerico style on our little adventure.

J&BkissFOF.jpg

Hilariousness ensues, after the jump. Click all pictures to embiggen.

(Notice that I'm holding a cigarette in the above photo. I wanted as many vices as possible in that picture. If I'd had a bottle of booze, I'd have held it too!)

The Setup

Projector Jesster (Jessica Bowers) wrote me after I arrived in Denver and posted that I really wanted to see the mountains. She offered to take the day off work and show Jerame and I the sights. We agreed and made plans to meet at our hotel after checkout.

When Jess arrived, I was talking to Rep Baron Hill (D-IN) about his vote on ENDA. Rep Hill was on of the blue dog Democrats who balked at including transgender people in the employment non-discrimination bill (although his staff later denied the charge). I rattled off some of the statistics I've learned from our trans Projectors and was stunned when he revealed that he'd not been lobbied by one single transperson. When Jess arrived on the scene, I pointed out Rep Hill to her and she remedied that oversight; he's now been lobbied by a trans woman.

We all three jumped in her Jeep and set off for a sushi lunch at Tokyo Joe's. As we made plans for the day, Jess mentioned that we'd be passing Focus on the Anus Family's headquarters. It was an opportunity too good to pass up.

First Strike

FOFHQ.jpgThe drive to Colorado Springs is beautiful. Fundies really know how to shop for real estate! The FOF headquarters is a sprawling campus on top of a hill overlooking the mountains. The next time I hear someone complaining about HRC's building, I'd like to point them to this picture that captures the tip of FOF's grounds.

From the Welcome Center, the Bookstore and offices to the classrooms, worship areas and twisty potato sack slide for the kiddies, Focus on the Family has a stunning complex. Unfortunately, our skin was crawling from the smell of evangelicals and we wanted to get in and get out as fast as possible. We pulled into the parking lot (with the obligatory school bus parking available!) and hopped out of the Jeep.

As we walked past the Welcome Center, we searched for a FOF sign for our first photo op. (See the picture above the jump.) Mission accomplished, we started circling the building to see what other mischief we could find.

B&JoutsideFOF.jpg

Since we needed a restroom break, we headed for the Welcome Center and inspiration struck.

Pissing Off On the Religious Right

Since my sense of humor is notoriously immature, I have to admit that the idea for this little stunt was mine.

First I tried to get Jerame to come to the bathroom with me and tap his toe under the stall and let me take a picture. He didn't think it was a good idea and predicted it would get us thrown out on our ear. (He'd even removed his HRC hat before walking in the building.)

Since I had a backup plan, I was nonplussed. Since Focus on the Family has made it their main priority to piss all over the LGBT community and our families, I intended to return the favor. When the chubby old white guy walked up to greet us, I quickly told him the bathroom was my main priority.

I walked into the nearest open stall and got ready to pee. Sometimes when a guy takes a leak, he misses the toilet a bit and the spray will end up on the seat or floor. Apparently the creepy vibe made my hand shake; I missed a lot. A lot. A good 90% worth of missing, in fact. (I took a picture too, but Jerame won't let me post it online. LOL)

Mission accomplished. I'd pissed off on the religious right. Consider the favor returned, Dobson.

The Bowels of the Beast

As we wandered around the rest of the welcome center, we snapped a few photographs of the various displays. One circular area in the middle of the room (the colon of the beast?) had several areas touting various "family friendly" values. My favorite?

J&Jsanctity.jpg
The Value of Male and Female

Of course, we had to take a picture of Jess and Jerame in front of the display. (Don't make fun of Jerame's hat hair, I already told you he had to take off his big queer hat!)

Here's what the floor to ceiling display had to say about gender roles:

We believe that God created humans in His image, intentionally male and female, each bringing unique and complimentary qualities to sexuality and relationships. Sexuality is a glorious gift from God to be offered back to Him either in marriage for procreation, union and mutual delight or in celibacy for undivided devotion to Christ. Christians are called to proclaim the truth and beauty of God's design and the redemption of sexual brokenness in our lives and culture through Jesus Christ. Romans 12:1-2

For you godless heathens out there, Romans 12:1-2 (NIV) reads:

1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.

I'd say Jesster has been transformed, wouldn't you? God must be pleased. If he'd only been willing to stop by and take the picture, I could have been in it too. Talk about the parent who's never around for a bonding moment...

No Snakes in the Garden

As we fled the scene of the homophobia and hell fires, we decided to visit Garden of the Gods - a nearby scenic area. After all, if God is going to be pleased with humans, I have a feeling it'll have more to do with our respect for His work instead of our attempts to dominate each other.

Lightening didn't strike us dead as we drove away. In fact, the day stayed beautiful and sunny.

GardenOfTheGods.jpg

Apparently God agreed with me.


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Great post Bil! I'm glad you had a chance to see something other than downtown Denver (though I'll reiterate: nothing - not even sweet, sweet mental revenge at the expense of FOTF - compares to taking US 50 across the continental divide.)

Some years ago, when I visited Colorado Springs for an author appearance, a local activist took me on a tour of this infamous mountaintop fortress of "faith." It's a creepy place, I agree.

And it reeks of all the money that is pumped into it. FOF deserves to have its IRS non-profit status revoked because it engages in political activity.

Come to think of it, I'll bet that the federal budget could get balanced if all the outlaw politico/religious organizations and political churches had to pay taxes instead of getting off free.

"FOF deserves to have its IRS non-profit status revoked because it engages in political activity."

Hearing Dobson talk about how he oh-so-carefully differentiates when he speaks as an individual from when he speaks as FOTF is a laugh riot; such non-existent-differentiation-in-reality by itself should tell anyone that he doesn't give a damn about the 'commandment' against lying.

BTW - has anyone here ever heard him refer to a candidate that 'he, not FOTF' is endorsing as being a 'friend of the family'? I was driving thru Colorado about 10 years ago and heard a commercial like that (I think it was for Marilyn Musgrave) and my first thought was referring not to 'family' as in the generic concept that they claim they care about but, instead, 'family' as Vito or Michael Corleone would mean it when saying 'friend of the family.'

Just an observation on my part.

Counting the minutes until Daddy Dobson or Porno Pete or Concerned Woman Matt turns your little tale of bathroom humor into a fund raising letter. Surely this will play nicely with the "all homos are perverts and degenerates with no decency" crowd.

That said, well done.

Interesting point, Brandi. It's one of the things we talked about during the trip. "Trannie" seems to be like "queer" for gay men; some use and accept it while others don't. Since that's how Jesster referred to herself, I've used it too. (See her upcoming guest post!)

The word is a tricky one indeed. It reminds me of the George Carlin routine on the seven words. He ends the routine with, "You can prick your finger, but you can't finger your prick."

It Jess ID'ed with the word, it is okay to use it, as you surmized. I use it at times, and I even used in in a new article I sent to Alex, but it was in quotes. This discussion has happened on this list before.

Just out of curiousity, Monica, what's your take on it? Okay or not?

It's a word that we can use within our community, but I feel unconfortable when non-trans friends or family use it, but I don't make an issue of it, unless they use it too much. When it is used by people who don't know any better, or I don't know, and say they are our friends, they need to be corrected, as Brandi did with you. (For me, you would be in the "friends" catagory because of all of our communications.)

However, some use it as an intential derrogatory word and they will get the brunt of my anger. That's why I say it's a tricky word. My advice to non-trans people, "Avoid using it, even if the person uses it on themselves." This is the safest approach. Good advice from your friendly, neighborhood tranny.

Good advice from your friendly, neighborhood tranny.

You crack me up sometimes, Monica. I consider you a friend too.

I'll second that. It's a word that our community needs to reclaim, as is being done with "queer," but still plays well only among transfolk who are comfortable with it (as is typical with the N word), or from outside the trans community when the person being spoken of has assented to the usage.

My partner absolutely loathes the word, and hates it when I use it. But I think there's a certain amount of catharsis that comes from exorcising words like that ("shemale" is another one).

Lenny Bruce once commented that he wished that every black kid in New York would hear the N word a million times, so that it would lose its power over them. I believe he's right.

I agree with everyone else's take on the usage of "tranny" (I prefer the spelling with a y at the end). I thought Bil used it appropriately here though since he was also using his own pejorative description (fag) in the sentence.

"Two fags and a trans woman" just wouldn't have had the same ring to it, IMHO.

Honestly, I have never had a problem with the word. If its being used in a way intended to be insulting, it is typically obvious not simply from 'tranny' but from the rest of the words as well - and, in turn, its not 'tranny' I care about but the overall message.

Mr. Jesster needs to shave. His chin hair is getting noticeable.

You guys live in a dream, trying to warp the reality of gender roles into your own make believe "dress-up" game.

Good luck, and maybe if you honestly reflect, you will become an ex-gay too!

Come stand next to the toilet, Billy Bob. I'll show you what I think of your comment.

Are you going to bounce this motherfucker?

Nope, since it's my own post I decided to let it stand. After all, I can take the rabid fundies pretty well; I live in Indiana where 75% of the population belongs to FOF. :)

Besides, it helps to remind us of why I did what I did. Piss on him too.

Bil... I wasn't concerned about *your* feelings... I was concerned about **Jesster's** feelings - you clunkhead!

Rory - I assumed she knew he meant Jerame as you pointed out. She and I talked throughout the day yesterday and nothing was said about the comment.

I should point out that I'm usually the one who lets comments stay that others want to TOS. One of the points of the Project is to allow each other free expression of our thoughts - even when they're unpopular. While Billy Bob hit the "abusive" part of TOS, he does represent the mindset that inspired me to action.

It just seemed apropos to remind us all of exactly the type of person who defends FOF.

I'm not a big one for pulling the proverbial trigger just for a disagreement or a different POV. But this guy is clearly anti-trans, anti-gay, fundamentalist, who doesn't seem interested in having any productive discussion of our issues. And that's different.

I wouldn't have known that you discussed this with Jesster. However, it does send a signal to other readers that blatantly transphobic speech is permitted. And since Billy Bob doesn't seem to be a natural Projector constituent, there doesn't seem to be a good reason for him to stick around.

Ouch Billy Bob! And here I thought having facial hair would make me sexier...

"Mr. Jesster needs to shave. His chin hair is getting noticeable."

That was Jerame, you moron.

BTW, I became an ex-gay through successful transition as a female to male transsexual. Instead of being a lesbian, I'm a happy straight man.

I thought you looked beautiful, Jesster, and I was going to ask you if you're single. But then I remembered I wasn't. ;-)

Aww, thanks Rory!

Fortunately, it'd take more than a random drive-by misgendering to get to me at this point. It kind of makes me wonder what the FtM version of that would be though? "Ms. Rory, nice baby face?"

I find this adventure very poorly considered, and ammunition for fundies who would to paint us as ill-mannered, indecent, less than human, and undeserving of civil rights. Don't be surprised if links to this report show up on fundy websites, and increase donations to their organizations.

Are you trying to change heart and minds, or spit in peoples' faces?

I understood and share the rage; but, at the same time, we'd do well to be smart and strategic and not do stuff that actually harms our interests. Peeing on someone's floor, and informing the world you did so, is, I suspect, counterproductive. (Did not Peter LaBarbera try to get a hotel in Chicago to repudiate a leather convention because he claimed that gay men staying in the hotel were incontinent with bodily waste?)

How would you feel if a fundy bragged about going into a bathroom at The Trevor Project and peed all over the floor? Would you not think of him as being even more vile and evil than you had thought before?

Our task is to show FOF that were are *not* like that.

By the way, also, I'm sorry, but please don't implicitly call being gay a "vice" like smoking cigarettes, which is, um, a GENUINE VICE. It's something that hurts yourself, people around you, the gay community, and the world at large. My being gay is just who I am; it's not a "vice."

I think the gay community would be far better represented by respectful, peaceful, non-violent protests at the FOF headquarters -- like that college student (I think his name was Jacob Reitan) and his parents did a couple years ago -- than going there and being obnoxious vandals.

To the authors and the blogmasters: I'd re-consider even keeping this post posted.

I actually agree with your comments, D.

At that point? Spit in their faces.

They have pissed on our community, my family and myself for years. They've opposed our rights to our job, our housing, our loved ones, our children and our public accommodations. If Jerame had worn his HRC hat into the building or they'd seen us kissing in front of their sign, do you really think they'd have welcomed us with open arms and tea and biscuits? Or would we have been run off the property?

I'm guessing the latter. And I'll bet you are too.

Changing minds takes a while. It involves long conversations over a period of time. I had 15 minutes. While immature (as I mention in the post), it was extremely satisfying.

Your vice comment, however, is dead on the money. I can see how it could be read that way. I was thinking of "vice" as they would - sex without marriage, smoking, drinking, dancing, buying meth from a hooker (oh wait, that's okay as long as you don't get caught!). You're correct though that I shouldn't have used the phrasing because it does equate being gay to a real vice. I stand corrected on that one.

D, I hate to break it to you - Bil and Jerame are the site's owners/webmasters.

Also, how is taking a leak vandalism? Everyone pees.

It's this mentality that allowed faggotry to thrive as much as it has...

Absolutely. The world will only be pure when everyone stops peeing.

And you know who would agree with you? HITLER!!!11!!!1!!!

"The world will only be pure when everyone stops peeing."

Didn't they make a Broadway show about that?

Congratulations on deciding for all of us that we need to be viewed as suspect should we decide to want to go see Fof's headquarters or protest there.

Do you think you wouldn't be anyway if they knew who you were?

Jesster my dad is a Baptist minister we have an agreement you miss in my bathroom you clean it up if I miss in yours I clean it up other than that we disagree on most everything else but do so in a reasonable manner.Is he pleased about my being Ts probably not does he rub it in no, either way I'm still his child.

That does not mean that all Fundies will have the same willingness to co-exist. My Pentecostal mother and I have an agreement as well: she agrees to not use my name and proper gender, to not acknowledge to the other relatives and friends that I exist, and I agree that after giving her two years to come around, it's time to have no further communication with her, to disown her and to not expect to ever be a part of the family. It works pretty good for both of us, I suppose.

And her reaction is regardless of the fact that I've never p!$$#d on the seat.

Okay, I admit, what they did at FoF was a little immature, but I can hardly see any different (i.e. positive) behaviour ever changing Dobson's mind, anyway. Personally, I'd never set foot in a rabid Fundamentalist environment like that, but I'm not about to condemn the guilty moments of personal satisfaction of those who do, provided they don't cause more permanent damage. It's a buttload less than some of us experience from the religion mindtrip.

Mercedes while you may view it as an immature act how will those who have been attracted to this site that are politically connected view it? I agree it is a buttload less than some of us experience from the religion mindtrip but there are better ways to get satisfaction.I enjoy this site and think Bil and Jerame have done something special it would be a shame to see it pissed away.

I'd consider visiting there. It would be fun to walk in and up to the information desk and say, "Hi. I'm a transsexual and I would like to talk with someone about getting my penis back. You have anyone here who can direct me to the nearest penis transplant clinic?" Than I'd walk out. Sometimes torquing someone's jaws can be too much fun not to pass up.

I'd go with you, Monica. Let's make it a road trip. :)

Monica I'd be tempted to go with you and ask for directions to Trinidad for my penis amputation you want it?

Amy,
You're too funny! No. You can have it bronzed after the internals are removed. It would make a great present for James Dobson

There's no reason to go to Trinidad if you're having your penis amputated. That can be done anywhere.

Rory I only used the term amputation for effect

When you have an agreement with James Dobson, let me know. Until then, I'm going to assume that he'll keep using his media empire to inspire our youth to suicide, try to keep it legal for his followers to commit hate crimes against us, and condone firing LGBT people for not subscribing to his version of "Christian values."

Because when that happens, I'll personally invite Dobson to come piss on my bathroom floor.

And I have carpet.

I agree with everything you've said Bil he is a murderer with blood on his hands.But peeing on his floor isn't going to change it or make it any easier to do something about it.As for trying to reach an agreement with him I'd rather not.As I said when I first came here good press is bought and paid for.Show me a cash cow and I'll show you a mainstream advertising campaign designed to force the issue of hate crimes legislation.There have been many commercials that I have watched about ending violence towards women, money and a willingness to do it is the only thing preventing us from doing the same thing.I would also design those ads to show just how brutal and dehumanizing most of these murders are.Lobby the people and the Senators and Congressmen will feel pressure to act.

I doubt James Dobson cleaned up the urine. Someone paid $6/hour who couldn't give a fuck about FOTF's mission was probably assigned to it.

Don't bust my little bubble, Alex.

You know I thought about using "Don't rain on my parade." *snickers*

With my luck, I'd be the next one in the stall before it was cleaned up, and there wouldn't be any others available. ;-)

Hopefully it was the ex-gay Billy Bob and that's why he's here.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | September 3, 2008 9:10 AM

Not being in to bodily fluids as a protest method myself I took a second retreat to a Trappist Monastery and calmly looked up all books referencing homosexuality in their library.

They were ritually burned after I smuggled them out at the end of the retreat in beautiful Bardstown Kentucky.

Let's go after their books Bil!

"It kind of makes me wonder what the FtM version of that would be though? "Ms. Rory, nice baby face?" "

No, no, no, no... It would be:

NICE TITS!!!!

Believe me, I think Dobson is absolutely vile, and does indeed have blood on his hands.

But I stand by my earlier comment that peeing on the bathroom floor -- which someone who can't get a better job, rather than Dobson, is going to be cleaning up -- and very publicly bragging about it, for all our enemies to read, is, in my opinion, a tactical mistake.

The sensitive, smart, emotionally and politically astute tactics of, say, Mel White and Soulforce are going to get us somewhere. PFLAG will get us somewhere. Ellen DeGeneres will get us somewhere. What they do is assertive, but still savvy and well-behaved (Gandhi-esque) -- which adds up to being effective.

By contrast -- Bil, do you honestly think a report on intentionally peeing 90% on the bathroom floor at FoF is going to help the gay community in the slightest?

I posit that it not only doesn't help, it holds us back a little.